Tactran is to review plans for park-and-ride schemes in Dundee after the shock rejection of the proposal for Dundee West.
Eric Guthrie, director of the regional transport strategy for Tayside and Central, said they were disappointed at the decision of the city council’s development management committee on Monday.
Not a single councillor was persuaded to back convener David Bowes in moving to support the recommendation of city development director Mike Galloway to give the 400-parking space venture the green light.
Representatives of Friends of Riverside Nature Park, next to the proposed park-and-ride at Wright Avenue, and local residents spoke at length against the project on ecological and environmental grounds.
Objector Linda Hartley said jeopardising the nature park for the park-and-ride was like the scenario eloquently described by Joni Mitchell in her song Big Yellow Taxi “they paved Paradise and put up a parking lot”.
Councillors of all political parties then seriously challenged Mr Galloway and Tactran project manager Neil Gardiner on the business case for the scheme.
The councillors were unimpressed by what they heard about the scheme’s buses needing a £25,000 subsidy in the first year, city centre car parks having plenty of spare capacity and doubts about whether the scheme would appeal to commuters working at Dundee University and Ninewells Hospital.
The applicants were the city council on behalf of Tactran, whose senior officer later defended the proposal.
“It went through a robust process of consideration and followed official guidance from the government agency Transport Scotland. There is a positive business case for the project and we presented it,” Mr Guthrie said.
“We are naturally disappointed that the application for Dundee West was refused and we will now review the position of future developments for park-and-ride facilities in Dundee in light of the Dundee West decision, in consultation with our partners in the city council and Transport Scotland.”
Mr Guthrie said Dundee West was developed through discussions with partners as part of a regional transport strategy to help cut congestion and improve air quality by offering a car-free integrated network of bus links to major locations around the city.
The next of the four Dundee park-and-ride schemes in the pipeline is for the south side of the Tay Road Bridge to serve Fife commuters driving into Dundee.
It is being promoted by SEStran, the South East Scotland Transport Partnership, and it will go to Fife Council for approval.
Mr Guthrie said that project is at an advanced stage but it will now be looked at again in light of the Dundee West decision, as will the case for park-and-rides in the eastern and northern outskirts of the city.
West End councillor Fraser Macpherson said: “I welcome the fact that Tactran are going back to the drawing board. There should be no revisiting of the Riverside site as it was very clear there is real concern about the detrimental effect it would have on the environment.
“By taking another look at the whole issue Tactran will also have to put forward a business case to show there will be enough footfall to make schemes viable, as this was a factor in our decision.”
“The next project for Fife is not in my area and it is for Fife Council to decide, but there may be more merit in that project as a scheme for the many North Fife commuters who come into Dundee.”